Hi my name is Darren and this is my first blog for Birmingham Conservation Trust. You might recognise the title as lyrics from the song ‘Up of the Roof – relevant because I am a roofer and when I am working in Birmingham on various heritage sites I will be photographing and taking notes.
I hope to show a different side of Birmingham and its rich heritage, one that the majority do not get to see. To capture the unseen side of this City – the angles from above, corners and the faded facades where the moss and weeds have started their own development projects and where the litter mingles without fines.
The Brolly Works (pictured above) is a former umbrella factory which was converted into apartments in 2008. It is a grade II listed building situated on Allison Street in Digbeth. Built 1872, adapted in 1923 until a clothing factory and later in 1975 to a crisp factory.
Views from the roof of The Brolly Factory onto Digbeth and Allison Street
Although an interesting building itself with an interesting history, its rooftop views work as the house seats to the theatre of city life past and present, looking directly onto Digbeth and the newly championed East Side. Up here on the roof the contrast between new and old becomes even more apparent highlighting the character of the buildings side by side, as does the transformation of the City – ever changing. My job is not the hardest in the world nor the easiest, definitely not the cleanest and at times as with everyone the dirt and grime get us down but when we pause to take a breath that is when it clicks – the images of perfect horizons, the architecture glistening in the sun or shining from the rainfall. Allowing the chance to see all of these angles open up into a different view of the same City, out of sight for many; it makes the dirt and grime worthwhile. Like most things we do day in day out these things seem to pass us by but can we afford not to take a closer look?
As I don’t always work in the City Centre this blog may not be frequent but in the pauses I hope to post pictures of past projects that I have worked on.